Recovering from corrupt upgrade from Jaunty to Karmic

I was excited for the Karmic Koala (v. 9.10) which came out yesterday and I happily started the download and kept the computer switched on overnight for the download to complete. When I woke up, surely the download was completed and I went on to install the downloaded packages. Which the installation was taking place, power went off and computer switched off abruptly. I was in shock and feared I wouldn’t be able to boot into Ubuntu again.

My fears came true when booting process stopped at “waiting for /dev/sda6″. I waited for quite a while but it would never proceed to next step. I pressed Esc and I was dropped into root terminal. I at once did

dpkg --configure -a

That didn’t help much. It gave me error “Read-only file system”. So, I made the file-system writable by doing

mount -n -o remount,rw -t ext3 /dev/sda7 /

-n = dont write to /etc/mtab because the system is already read-only
-o remount,rw = remount the filesystem in read-write (rw) mode
-t ext3 = this is explicitly specifying the type of filesystem the root folder has. It is optional
/dev/sda7 = partition which is meant to be mounted
/ = location to mount it upon

After, this I again executed

dpkg --configure -a

I didn’t get any errors this time. It took around 2-3 minutes to reconfigure all the settings automatically. Then, I installed the not-installed packages of Karmic by executing

sudo aptitude install

Then, I rebooted the computer and voila!, I booted into Karmic.


Killing Xorg, when things get out of control

Today I experienced a rather strange problem in Ubuntu. It crashed. Actually it wasn’t completely crashed, the mouse clicks weren’t working, I couldn’t switch using Alt+Tab, I could only use the program which was on the screen. The panels weren’t working, though the shortcut keys were. Fortunately enough, I had assigned shortcut key to open the terminal and it was working, so I could even access the terminal.

Fortunately, firefox  (shiretoko) was running as the frontmost application and I was able to access the internet. I searched for How to kill X and was presented with many solutions.

I tried killall X in  terminal but it didn’t work. Suddenly, I remembered that X was called Xorg in jaunty. I did this:

sudo killall Xorg

and instantly the X restarted, and presented me the login screen. And after logging in everything was as good as rebooted :D.

I love Ubuntu, I love linux.


[Solved] Synaptics touchpad horizontal scrolling in Ubuntu

My laptop has a synaptic touchpad and its horizontal scroll was not working ever since I moved to Ubuntu. I didn’t pay attention to it in the beginning as it was not much of a use. But later on it started bugging me so I finally decided to resolve this problem.

Well, installing gsynaptics and enabling the horizontal scroll didn’t work for me but that may work for you. So try this:
In terminal, type:

sudo apt-get install gsynaptics

Type in your password and let it install the package. After installation, go to System->Preferences->Touchpad.

Go to scrolling tab and enable Horizontal scrolling. This may work for you, but it didn’t work for me.

If this doesn’t work for you too, try this:
In terminal, type:

synclient HorizEdgeScroll=1

That should do the trick. I hope it helps. This worked for me.


Comments are more than welcome.

[How-To] Change default application installation location on windows xp

So, you just want to keep a partition for Windows XP and another partition for all your applications that you install. You can change it in all the installations manually but changing the default location is a much better idea. And there are also some applications which don’t let you change the default path.

XP uses the C:\Program Files directory as the default base directory into which new programs are installed. However, you can change the default installation drive and/ or directory by using a Registry hack.

Run the Registry Editor (regedit)and go to


Look for the value named ProgramFilesDir. by default,this value will be C:\Program Files. Edit the value to any valid drive or folder and XP will use that new location as the default installation directory for new programs.

Note: This post was written originally for by me. You can find the post here

Killing applications in Ubuntu

Well all OSes have bad programs, Linux has it too. Some times they stop responding and unlike windows, they don’t make the whole OS unresponsive. The application alone is unresponsive but you can still use other applications normally. Killing an unresponsive application is fairly easy job in Ubuntu.

Bring the unresponsive application to the front, the app must be having a desaturated look because its unresponsive (if its not, check again… it must not be unresponsive). Launch the terminal and type:

$ xkill

The mouse cursor will change to a cross, click anywhere on the unresponsive application and it will be killed.

To get things done faster, you can type xkill in “Run application” dialog box too. Press Alt+F2 to bring the run dialog box and type xkill and enter. The mouse cursor will change to cross and click on unresponsive app to kill it.

Alternatively, you can use the System Monitor (System->Administration->System Monitor). In the processes tab, right click the process you want to kill, and select kill process. Note that this method requires some expertise on which process represents which application. You are better off using the previous method if you don’t know what the process name for the application is.

There’s one more method of process killing. Type the following in terminal:

ps -d | grep “process-name”

It will list all the process with that process name along with the process ID (PID).

then type this:
kill -s KILL pid

PID is taken from the previous command and written into this one. That process which has this process-id will be killed.

I hope you liked this tutorial.


Installing a web server package for PHP development

So, you thought you would make a web application but didn’t know where to start?
This is the place to start. You need a web server installed on your computer before you start any kind of web programming be it PHP, ASP .Net, ColdFusion, JSP.

For developing in PHP, you would have to install an Apache HTTP server, php interpreter, MySQL server. Installing all of them would be a real headache and so would be configuring them to work with each other. To simply this we have WAMPs(Windows Apache, MySQL, PHP).

One such WAMP distribution is XAMPP which is cross platform and has many features inbuilt like filezilla ftp server, a mercury mailing server etc.

To install XAMPP first download the installer file for your OS from the following link:

These are steps for installing it on Windows XP. Some features/interface may differ on different OS and different version of XAMPP.

Double click the installer and follow the instructions.

Do not uncheck the option for creating the icon on desktop.

Double click the XAMPP control panel icon on your desktop.

Click start on apache and MySQL.

Apache HTTP server and MySQL server will start so that you can develop php applications.

You can check the “svc” which means install as service. If you check it, the selected service will run automatically when windows is booted.

Goto the installation directory of your XAMPP and head to htdocs folder. This is the folder in which you have to keep all your php files. Now write a PHP “hello world” application and save it in this folder (or you can create subfolders within htdocs folder) with any name you wish.

Now open your internet browser. And type the address http://localhost/(subfolder)/yourfilename.php to execute your php file.

This tutorial was originally written by me for my forum. You can also find this tutorial on

[Solved] Really slow Synaptic downloads

I was trying to install some applications when I saw extremely low speed of downloading. I had a fast connection and browsing was fast. Therefore, there was a problem with the synaptic.

To solve this:

Go to System -> Administration -> Software Sources
In the ‘Download from’ box choose other.
And click on ‘Select best server’.
It will ping all the servers to check the connection speed with all of them and will select the fastest amongst them.

After choosing the fastest server, you will see that the download speeds rise significantly.